House passes Nugent-backed hunting bill

    Ted Nugent talks to reporters in the Michigan Capitol, Sept. 17, 2019 | Laina G. Stebbins

    The GOP-led Michigan House this week OK’d a bill that would lift the ban on deer baiting, which inspired GOP activist and rocker Ted Nugent to come to the Capitol and testify in support.

    HB 4687 sponsored by state Rep. Michele Hoitenga (R-Manton) passed the House on a mostly party-line 57-49 vote on Tuesday. The legislation would allow hunters to use the technique during open seasons on deer and elk in Michigan. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) strongly opposed the bill, citing concerns about chronic wasting disease spreading.

    “We’ve got about 40-plus peer reviewed studies that address this question of baiting and how it adds to disease spread,” DNR spokesman Ed Golder testified to a state House panel in September. “Peer reviewed research has shown that baiting and feeding beyond normal feeding patterns … greatly increases the likelihood of disease transmission.”

    Nugent wants deer-baiting ban lifted, bashes wildlife officials and scientists

    Nugent, a strong supporter of President Trump who campaigned for Michigan Republicans last year like former Attorney General Bill Schuette, who lost his gubernatorial bid to now-Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, testified he believes hunters should write regulations, not scientists.

    “Banning feeding and baiting is a guaranteed destruction, further destruction, of this great heritage,” Nugent said.

    Upon the bill’s passage Tuesday, Hoitenga said, “The ban is doing more harm than good by chasing hunting families away from the sport.”

    The bill will now be before the state Senate for consideration.

    Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.